PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia is seeing a disturbing increase in homicides and gun violence this year.
A program gives shooting victims a “fighting chance.”
At a North Philadelphia church, it isn’t just role play. Sixty-year-old Veronica Daniel and the rest of the residents there learned how to set a tourniquet. The goal: to prevent a gunshot victim from bleeding to death before help arrives.
“So, you’ve become the first responder?” CBS News asked Daniel.
“I don’t know. I hope so, I hope I’m brave enough to do that,” she said.
In Philadelphia, it takes an ambulance six and a half minutes to arrive at a crime scene — every second a victim lays unattended could be a death sentence.
Daniel learned the importance of survival when her brother was shot 30 years ago.
“In my brother’s instance, the gunshot wound brought him home, so we were able to talk to him,” she said.
“It gave him an opportunity to look at life differently,” she said.
The workshop is called Fighting Chance. It was started by Temple University Hospital.
“Unfortunately, gun homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men between the ages of 15 and 24,” said Scott Charles, the hospital’s trauma outreach coordinator. “And we think we owe it to them to give them a fighting chance to survive those injuries and if we only save two or three, it’s worth it to us.”
The sessions are taught by hospital trauma nurses and ER doctors.
Participants learn to stop blood flow at artery pressure points, and how to move the wounded out of harm’s way.
But Charles says the larger point to all of this is to prevent more gun violence in the first place.
“If they die, the assumption is among their friends that they have to avenge this shooting, so if we can save more lives directly there is going to be a downstream effect,” he said. “I fully believe that.”
Success here is measured not in mastering the skills, but having to never use them.
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